How to Make More Room in Your Work Day
By Sandy Schroeder
If there never seems to be enough time to get everything done at work, you may need to rethink your approach. If the work flow seems normal, you may need to get a better grip on your schedule and restructure it.
Forbes offers some tips on ways to make this happen.
Simplify basic tasks - Make room for your important projects by finding ways to handle basic tasks more quickly. You may want to develop form letters to handle routine correspondence, develop formulas to expedite spreadsheet work, or lump routine tasks together to be handled at the end of the day.
Set aside blocks of time - If your schedule routinely fills up with meetings, plan ahead and block out chunks of time for your most important projects and goals. Keep an eye on your schedule for the coming weeks to reserve time for the things that you want to get done.
Make the most of your time - If you are a morning person, plan to work on your most important projects first thing in the morning. If you are more of a night owl, reserve some time later in the day to work with your special projects. If you tend to lose momentum as the week goes along, make sure your special projects get attention early in the week.
Get the most out of your meetings - Successful people use meetings to get things done, not to make an appearance. Review your schedule of meetings and try to eliminate unnecessary ones. You might delegate someone to attend for you, or leave early if you are not needed for the entire meeting.
Do face-to-face instead of email - Whenever possible, talk with people about ongoing work to get everything hammered out all at once. When you leave the details to email, you can spend a lot of time checking and rechecking your email, and responding and waiting for answers. One or two meetings could wrap everything up in much less time.
Review your schedule for gaps - Survey a week's worth of schedules to see where there may be gaps in time or wasted effort. You may be able to eliminate 15- or 20-minute gaps between meetings and project work times, or you may want to come in early to get more work done before most people arrive. Also, you may spot chunks of time that were wasted due to poor communication or lack of planning. Consider doing a once-a-week planning review of your schedule to pin everything down in advance.
As you review your schedule, you may come up with more ways to make it more productive. Keep juggling things around until it works for you.
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